“We work on ourselves to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves.” ~Pema Chodron
Wouldn’t you agree everyone you know has something they are dealing with? Each of us has a story we are living. Some more emotional and heartbreaking than others.
Too many people are filled with despair and struggle with negative emotions after a dramatic life change. They are isolated in pain. There are those who can’t or won’t help themselves. What do you do?
I wanted to share this with you because I am sure you can relate and maybe you are frustrated or feel helpless and powerless to get through to someone stuck in struggle. I understand. Feeling helpless and powerless is uncomfortable and I don’t like it anymore than you do.
Being in a position like this requires patience. It is one of many ways to deal with someone who can’t get out of their own way.
Below are ways you can help:
• First, check yourself – You are not here to take on someone else’s journey. Maybe they are exactly where they need to be right now. Let them know you are there.
• You can help them by being there and being supportive – You can plant seeds. Smile, be present, suggest they focus on their best selves. They are more than their struggle.
• Everyone needs to get their own lessons – You can’t help someone who is not willing. You can love them through it. Send love and hold them in your heart. They will turn around and climb back up when they are ready and willing.
• Don’t enable them – The tools, the solutions, the action steps are there for them to help themselves. Show them how to use them, step back and be there when they fall; Love them and repeat over and over.
• Focus on your own well-being – It’s important to have boundaries so you can provide stable support when they ask for help. Allow them their way of doing things however difficult it is to watch. This is their journey.
• People who won’t help themselves usually do not trust others or themselves – All you can do is be a friend. Crazy behavior is not for you to deal with.
• Know your limitations and stay strong – Don’t turn your back on them. Accept them faults and all. Decide what you can and cannot do. Here is where patience is critical. Show them your strength and let them know it takes time.
• Be a role model – Show them what it is like to be your own best friend and cherish self.
• Help them see their actions have consequences – Others are impacted by what they do.
• Open the Door – After all is said and done, they will walk through the door and begin to help themselves when they are ready and not one moment sooner.
It is never easy to watch someone we care about be stuck and can’t get out of their own way. Maybe when you have struggled along the way and I know I have been there, our loved ones felt helpless and powerless to help us feel better. Maybe they could have used these ideas and it would have made a difference. Regardless, we got through our challenges and I’d like to believe we are stronger and more connected with those we love the most.
There’s no judgement to be found for those who can’t or won’t help themselves. What we can always offer is love and the reassurance we are never alone.
May those who are struggling know they have help and people in their corner who will be there.